Off-duty pilot charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after trying to crash jet

Joseph David Emerson, 44, was charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after attempting to take the controls of an Alaska Air jet en route from Everett, near Seattle, to San Francisco. He was subdued and the flight made an emergency landing in Portland.

The man was sitting in the cockpit of an Alaska Airlines flight behind the captain and the first-officer, according to an airline statement.

There's no further details in the BBC report, but the route and the number of passengers implies an Embraer 175, a mid-size passenger jet which has a standard lockable cockpit door, so the man's presence up there would seem to be the first thing that needs explaining. This photo (not the same flight!) shows a view of the cockpit from the passenger cabin.

Here's a similar-sounding incident from a few months ago.

Update. ABC News has the details. He was an off-duty pilot.

An off-duty pilot is charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after he allegedly tried to shut off the engines by pulling the fire extinguisher handles on an Alaska Airlines flight, according to officials.

The suspect allegedly tried to pull the fire extinguisher handles on the engines, preliminary information obtained by investigators indicated, according to a federal official briefed on the probe. The suspect was overwhelmed by flight crew and subdued and then handcuffed to a seat, the federal official told ABC News.